Directed by: Abhinav Kashyap

Starring: Rishi Kapoor, Neetu Kapoor, Ranbir Kapoor, Pallavi Sharda, Himani Shivpuri

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What happens when being besharam (shameless) becomes a badge of honour? When there is no limit to cross because one doesn’t know of any limits? This is the interesting proposition put forward by Besharam, albeit in a unabashed and sometimes clumsy way but more interesting is what this shamelessness represents which seems to be Kashyap’s cheeky biting of the hand that feeds him. One moment we are given a scathing opinion on popular Hindi cinema (when Babli urinates in a field of flowers) followed by a romantic love song that wouldn’t be out of place from the film being lampooned. If you are confused, I can confirm you are being sold a contradiction.

I didn’t mind the contradiction so much and even liked the way the audience are tested when they see the Kapoors presented in scenarios they would never imagine – in a way, this is the film’s greatest strength and proves what versatile actors the Kapoors are (more on that shortly). My main problem was with Tara’s character who makes a super awkward and not really understandable transition from hating Babli to loving him. Whilst I loved the Mr India references throughout, in a film that is effectively  loving and loathing the norm at the same time, a well rounded female character is not only expected but an essential requirement.

Without a doubt, the Kapoors make Besharam. Ranbir throws himself into the role of Babli and if there is a connect missing somewhere, I didn’t feel this was Ranbir’s doing. His portrayal of Babli is sympathetic but to his credit, he manages to infuse the part with a gravitas the script doesn’t give. I didn’t mind Sharma who seems to enjoy herself and plays her part well, especially in the songs where she makes her presence felt. However, it is Rishi and Neetu who steal the show here, playing an unseen facet of their onscreen pairing and responding brilliantly to being put firmly out of their comfort zones. In fact, both look as if they are having a lot of fun which translates especially well in the very entertaining climax with Ranbir adding another dimension to the proceedings.

The film on release has been received with quite tidal wave of negativity and I can see why – coming with a massive double albatross around its neck in form of Kashyap’s Dabangg and Ranbir’s Yeh Jawani Hai Deewani, expectations were very high and the trailer (which could have had a more approachable feel in my opinion) didn’t help. But I believe Besharam is a brave choice of film for both to undertake especially when there were probably “safer” options available which wouldn’t polarise audiences and it is watchable. So I would suggest giving Besharam a watch – as always, making up your own mind is the best way but who knows, you may be pleasantly surprised too…

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